Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bell Qualifier Legion


Recently got my hands on a Bell Qualifier with the Legion decals from a friend who has been using it for over a year. Since I had gotten Chaos (my R1 and yes I haven’t posted anything about that yet at this time), I was able to really test out my helmets. Realizing the LS2 was kinda bad at speeds above 140kmh where the helmet pushes back, vibrates and screws with my glasses so I can’t see, it was a real risk riding with it. As such, I stole my friends helmet for a few days to see what the differences would be.

Design:
Ever since the AGV Pista came out, everyone loves that hawkbill design. This isn’t very obvious in the bell helmet but it does have a slight curve to it. It has a few curves here and there but is more or less fairly round otherwise.

Ventilation:
It has 4 front facing vents and 2 rear passive vents for ehaust.

Visor:
This one came with the standard clear visor. Bell claims it has an anti fog coating on it and visibility is quite clear. It doesn’t skew the way you see things so, that’s always a plus. The visor has 2 flip positions, city mode and full open (I may be wrong but I usually aren’t.)

Additional Features:
The helmet comes with speaker pockets and indentation to support a speaker system at the sides. Read somewhere that there were supposed to be channels to support comms units but I didn’t see any when I stripped the liner (I had to because I pass out for 5 seconds every time I put on the helmet because it STANK!! So I washed it.)

The run down:

Fit:
The size of the helmet was a large, and upon wearing it, realized it was a perfect fit. It was snug but not tight. It squished your cheeks but not as badly till it hurt… it felt like having one of those face huggers from Alien on your face except ur not giving its tail a blow job. Sadly, I wear glasses full time, I’m as blind as a bat and have photosensitive eyes so I need my oakleys (actually, all my glasses are oaks and this was a good thing in this case). Just a brief about my glasses, at night, I wear slightly tinted monster dogs (night and indoors) and in the day, I wear Oakley Turbines. I say these are good things because these glasses have very thin stalks and are very helmet friendly. That said, squeezing my monster dogs into the helmet was a real pain (no, really, it was really painful). So, if you want a helmet that fits, either get contacts or get a file to file a channel.
This helmet (here anyway), comes with double d rings, so if you want to take this to the track, technically you can. if you are one of those losers (I won’t even say girly types because I know some girls who wear double d’s – on their helmets you pervs) who need the ratchet system, please don’t waste your time.

Vents:
The top vent system is easy to get at with a glove but I found the switch was loose and flicky… so no matter what you did, one side would open even if you flicked it shut. The front vents were hard to get at with a heavy glove. All in all, the helmet was very breezy and is a good thing for riders in my country (Malaysia if you didn’t already know). Riding around on an R1 in traffic is shit… yes you get some movement at times but with the wrong helmet, you feel like dying. This helmet did well. Moving at slow but constant speeds, the helmet with the “city position” on the visor gives you plenty of air so you don’t feel like you are roasting. Even with the visor fully closed (I know.. wtf was I thinking right?) in slow moving traffic I found there was air movement, so that was always a plus. Highway riding is a breeze (no really… there was a real breeze), the helmet channeled air everywhere and you felt cool and comfy all the way. As you start riding faster, you can feel the rear vent working as you can slowly start feeling the suction happening at the back of your head. Even with the head buff on (in malaysia we wear a head buff aka head sock tube instead of a balaclava)

Aerodynamics:
The issue I had with my LS2 was that at a certain speed, the helmet vibrates and I cant see and it feels like someone is shaking my head so badly my glasses go out of place… anything above 140 did that and it became worse (FYI Malaysian roads only allow a max speed of 110kmh on its fastest highways… speeds I’m quoting are tests done in a controlled environment, The Mad Chop Shop does not condone speeding).
On the Bell, the helmet held up quite well at 150 with just a little push back. Tucking properly eliminates that annoying push back. At 160, the helmet starts to lift from the back but its bearable especially if you do up the double D’s properly.

Noise:
Being a breezy helmet, it’s obvious the helmet is going to be noisy, nothing compared to the LS2 though. There was this very annoying whistle that came from the left side and if I covered the bottom of the helmet with my left hand, the sound went away. If you don’t like it wear ear plugs (don’t wear earphones like me.. you need to focus)

Nutshell:
Well, in a nutshell, the helmet was quite good. I was very impressed. As a rather expensive entry level helmet (by Malaysian standards), the bell did its job and I would say is worth its money. Im hoping something can be done by normal 4 eyed dorks (I’m a dork too so I can say this) because I know for a fact any other glasses would break if they were shoved in to that helmet (I once broke a 1 week old ray ban before). It’s a good buy and you can ride with confidence knowing it’s a Bell and it WILL (probably) save your life one day (or at least will keep your face pretty when you get dismembered – unless you have a face only a mother could love, then u may be better off with a screwed face).


Verdict: BUY IT!

The Bucket The Day I Got It

Front Vent

Top Vents

Speaker Pockets

Recess For The Speakers

Passive Vents


Top Vent Close Up


By Vy

Friday, April 22, 2016

SJCam SJ4000 VS Drift Innovation HD720 Low Light Comparison

Took my fav drift 720 out for a spin to prepare for tomorrow... so i finally got some comparisons done...
  1. Low light wasn’t too great for both of them(sj4000 and drift innovations hd720P), but the drift could actually "see" more without my headlight on and just the street lamps... the SJCam failed at this one.
  2. Recording wise I found the drift has more angle of coverage but images look further... the SJCam recordings looked closer... then again... maybe it’s because the SJ sits in front of the chinbar whereas the Drift sits on the side at my ear.
  3. Headlight on, the Drifts FOV expanded greater but the SJCam had a much more crisp view
  4. Both cameras shake.. (Duh I’m riding on a lowered bike that barely has any suspension.. not to mention lack of seat cushion) but the SJCam images were slightly less shaky.
  5. Both cameras had light glare but it seems the Drifts glare was cut down a little.

I have yet to compare the day vids because I haven’t taken any recent day vids with the Drift.. and i want a controlled environment.. so that means I have to wait till next week when i work in the afternoon...



I guess the image quality difference (both were recording at 720p coz I don’t find full HD useful) would be different as the drift is a 5mp camera and the SJCam is a 12mp camera (dunno if that’s how you rate the difference


6AM ride to work no headlamps on

6AM ride to work headlamps on




By Vy

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

GPS tracker for your vehicle:

Things you will need:
1.       Sim card with free data (doesn’t have to be broadband)
2.       Phone (preferable Samsung because they are rated for the best GPS locking) S3s or notes are cheap now
3.       In car charger
4.       12v timer (optional)

Step 1:
Insert the sim card into the phone and make sure you set it up to have internet access

Step 2:
Ensure the following settings are done:
1.       Silent and no vibration mode
2.       GPS always turned on
3.       Set the screen lock to pin number

Step 3:
Install the software and configure them:
1.       Where’s My Droid
a.       Follow the setup instructions and be sure to setup an account for the commander
2.       Auto Answer Software
a.       Set to enabled
b.      Answer calls from only starred (ensure you star your own number and a few trusted friends.)
c.       Delay before answer 2 seconds
d.      Force speakerphone OFF
WHY:
Where’s my droid is a free tracking software that you can login to your account via the internet or via your phone. The idea is to track your phone which will be hidden in your vehicle. Its free unless you want to pay for upgrades which is cool.

Your GPS locking now is smart enough to triangulate your position via cell towers around you if there is no GPS tracking available at the time (in door or cloudy). That’s why you must ensure your internet connectivity is set up correctly.

Samsung devices (especially S3, Note 1 and up) have very fast GPS locking and lock on to more GPS satellites than other brands.

Auto answer software (this specific one and many others) are free and allow you to monitor the situation if you suspect your vehicle is stolen. This is more likely to be used if the device is in a car.

Step 4:
Locate a good place to hide your phone!
It must meet these categories:
1.       Dry place (unless you seal it in a sandwich bag)
2.       Not surrounded by metal (under a gas tank or anything like that) this dramatically reduces reception.
3.       Somewhere not obvious first place ppl will look:
a.       Car:
                                                               i.      Inside your dashboard
                                                             ii.      Under your seat
                                                            iii.      In your glove compartment
                                                           iv.      Under the hood
b.      Bike:
                                                               i.      Under your seat
                                                             ii.      Behind your headlamp
                                                            iii.      In your saddle bags

Step 5:
Wire shit up

1.       Disassemble the cigarette lighter usb charger.
2.       Extend the red and black wires as long as you need them.
3.       Connect the red to the positive terminal of your battery and the black to the negative terminal of your battery.
4.       Additional: you may connect a 12v timer if you don’t want to keep juicing your phone for no reason. Wire the timer to the battery then connect the charger to the positive and negative terminal to the timer. Suggested charge times would be 2-4 hours every 12 hour intervals.
Step 6:
Test your stuff

Sms the command to your phone and wait for the location.

Step 7:
Button everything up





 Where's My Droid

Auto Answer

Disassembled Charger

Results of Location Search


By Vy

Monday, August 17, 2015

Seat Pressure Sensor

 Are you sick of people sitting on your bike but refuse to get those lame super sensitive alarm systems for your bike?

Here’s a simple guide on how to make a pressure sensitive siren that only goes off if someone sits on your bike

Things needed:
1.       Automotive 5 pin relay (30 to 40 amp relay)
2.       Wire
3.       Spring
4.       Microswitch
5.       Siren
6.       Fuse
7.       Wire tape
What to do:
I will not write up on when to wrap the wire with wire tape, if you don’t know, you shouldn’t be doing this!

Step  1: Figure out stuff:
Find out the following:
1.       Where is a key activated positive (check your headlamps or meter light)
2.       Where to mount your siren discreetly.
3.       Grounding Points
4.       How to mount the pressure switch with a spring
Step 2: Hook everything up:
1.       Connect the positive lead of the siren to a fuse (30 amp)
2.       Connect the fuse lead to the positive terminal of your battery
3.       Connect the negative terminal of the siren to connector 87A on the relay
4.       Connect relay terminal 30 to the microswitch and from the microswitch to a good ground or battery negative terminal
5.       Connect the key activated positive (low amp discharge will be fine) to relay terminal 86
6.       Connect relay terminal 86 to a good ground location or negative battery terminal.





Micro Switch

Spring (an old valve spring or clutch spring)

Automotive Relay


Siren


30 = Ground

87A = Siren Negative Terminal
86 = Key activated positive
85 = negative/ground

By Vy

Roof Boxer V8 Bond

The roof boxer has been around for quite some time. There have been a lot of talk that the Roof Boxer was the first full convert helmet ever created while the Shark evoline had taken it and “improved” on it.
I had first come across the Boxer some time ago when it was called the “Boxer V”. I am unsure of how many instances of the Boxers there were but I have seen the Boxer, Boxer V and the Boxer V8.

To me, personal protection is a very important thing that is why I would never go for cheap replicas of anything especially helmets. But seeing the price of the Boxer V at the time in Malaysia really put me off. Although I had started oogling at helmets like the Icon Variant, the Boxer was never far from my mind. Finally, years later, I had tracked down the sole distributor in Malaysia and purchased the latest variant of the boxer. Enter:  the Roof Boxer V8 Bond 2015.

After remouting my camera mount and installing the speakers into the Boxer, I had finally retired the LS2 transformer to storage thanking it for its service and protection all these years. That helmet saved my life before and I will be forever grateful for that.

Today was the first day I had managed to test the Boxer as I was going to work and hadn’t ridden Pestilence the whole weekend and of all days my work starts at 9am. Although the helmet was a little lighter than the LS2, the Boxer felt very sturdy on your head. I began by riding it in Jet Mode. This meant that the jawline was up and over while the visor was down. With the new iridium blue visor, the morning sun was no big deal coupled with my day glasses (in case you all didn’t know I have issues with my eyes where I cannot see bright lights this day glasses = dark tinted glasses). Wind noise was at least 50% softer compared to the LS2 in open face mode though it allowed enough sound to pass through for me to hear traffic. This coupled with my speakers made the ride feel like I was in a nice limo.

Not going too fast, the helmet did very well with wind and did not create much wind resistance. One of the biggest shortcomings of the LS2 was that it had a very big imprint size wise thus causing wind resistance while riding both in open and full face mode. The odd thing was that even with the visor up, the resistance to air was kept at a minimal.

Once I hit a small stretch of open highway, I had converted the helmet to full face mode expecting even less noise from the already acceptably quite helmet but it would seem that I had made no difference in the helmet. As many of the other reviewers had mentioned, when the helmet is in full face mode, there will be a little hole where the “nose” of the jawline and the visor meet, this causes wind to come in unless you forcefully shove it shut. I personally see that as a good and bad thing as this allows a lot of air into the helmet allowing you to breathe well and also stops fogging even when you are stopped. It especially helps claustrophobic riders like myself  from feeling boxed in. and unlike my LS2, upon converting to full face mode, the helmet does not create a vortex sucking air from your helmet making it hard to breathe (not sure if I’m alone in this). The downside about the little gap is that if it rained it would be fun.
Little Gap In the Middle Lets Air In

The vents on the V8 Bond are plentiful. There are 4 stationary reversed vents at the jawline and 2 collapsible vents at the nose which unfortunately are a little flimsy and seem to prefer to be closed (they do it themselves!). The top has venturi vents controlled by a flimsy little slider. When the ports on the top are open, the gap is only about 1 to 1.5mm gap for both the front and back vents. Surprisingly, the air flow is amazing. When I started moving from my house I felt a draft on my forehead and thought I did not position my helmet properly or I had forgotten to lower the visor, but it was all correct. Even so, the helmet was rather quiet.

Single handed conversion while riding is a little tricky, maybe because the helmet is still new so the mechanism which is friction controlled is still tight. I will continue to monitor this point of it and if needed, will adjust it to work well.

It is too new to say for sure, but overall, it’s an amazing little helmet which fits well and because my jacket is a straight collared leather jacket, this shorter profile helmet doesn’t hook to my collar when I turn my head anymore.

















By Vy

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rider Basics




First off, I would like to state that I am not a professional trainer, nor a certified mechanic (then again who is in Malaysia?). The following information shared are of things I have learnt in my many years of riding and crashing (yes, I wipe out a lot). Think of it as me falling and making mistakes so you don’t have to.

There are so many different types of advice out there on how to ride... a lot of them are bad advice. Some of them are good.

In my opinion, there are 2 types of riders (idiots, squids, road bullies etc are available in those 2 categories too); Instinct riders and Technical Riders.

Instinct riders:
These are the type of riders who figured out how to ride on their own. Most of them do technical riding without even knowing it. And these (like me) will learn the hard way by crashing to realize they made a mistake. The thing about this type of rider is that we all start from here. We get our instinct riding skill from our bicycle days. But some will stay in this zone until they retire and some will move on to technical riding.

Technical Riders:
These are the type of riders who will “ascend” from being instinct riders. These are the people who realize that there are more things they can learn to ride better, identify the technical terms of the things they are doing when they were instinct riding and improve on it.

Example of “ascendance”
You take a corner, a technical person would know that the rules of cornering is that to turn, the bike MUST counter steer if it goes above 40kmh. There are no Ifs or buts about it. Yet an instinct rider will do it without realizing that he/she did it. A technical rider will realize “hey, I’m counter steering”, do more research about it, understand that he/she can actually turn at higher speeds and bank lower. Then will move on to understanding racing lines and weight shifting with a smooth throttle roll on/off. If we could do an overlay of the rider before and after he realized the potential of getting a better turn, the instinct rider he used to be would have been left behind.

I can’t tell one all the skills one has to learn because there are too many and a lot of them have become part of my instincts of muscle memory. But I will do my best to cover as much as I can.

I have spent many man hours watching “how-to” videos and I am able to conclude that 2 videos best suit all riders.
1.       Ride like a pro
2.       Twist of the wrist 2
To be very good, one should master both videos. Although one seems to focus on choppers/cruisers (RLP) and one on superbikes (TTW2). Each one has their specialties.

Ride Like A Pro
This should be the first video all bikers should watch. It doesn’t matter what type of bike you use, if you are an advanced rider or a beginner. The sequence of training must be followed as each skill you learn will be used in the next sequence. If you already know certain sequences, then you may move forward.
These are skills best used in day to day traffic.

Twist of The Wrist 2
This is would be good for those who have mastered RLP and would like to improve on the skills they have to go faster. They also explain the common rider errors and panics riders get. They also (without realizing it) explain how to be more comfortable while riding long distance. Again, although both use different base bikes, I found these apply for all types of bikes.

Biker Basics (I can remember right now)

Clutch:
The clutch is NOT an On/Off switch. (BUT IT IS!)
The above statement is quite confusing right? That’s because both are right.

When the clutch isn’t an on/off switch:
The clutch is a wonderful thing. Ppl talk about bite points of the clutch. What you must understand about the bite point is this:
1.       A clutch bite point is the point when the clutch creates enough friction to move the bike
2.       How much bite you apply to your clutch (by controlling the clutch lever) reduces or increases the transmission of % of power made by the engine to the wheels.
3.       It is with the transmission of power that ensures the bike stands up.
It is realizing this that you can understand how limiting or adding power to your rear wheel with the clutch will allow balance and proper movement.

Also, with the clutch, it is easier to reduce jerking. If your bike starts to jerk but you don’t want (or cant) change gears yet, then you float the clutch. So it limits the amount of power transmitted and the jerking is absorbed by the clutch.

When a clutch IS an on/off switch:
When you are cycling through gears:
-          If you are on a highway, quickly shift and drop the clutch like a hot coal.
-          This will ensure maximum bite and no lags in power.
When you need to stop:
-          The clutch is linked to the rear wheel, braking with the clutch ON is never gonna help you stop.
-          Ensure you depress the clutch (you can say how ugly it looks… get it? No? *sigh* okay) then you will find the rear brakes much more compliant.

Clutch work is never easy. Just do your best and practice every day.
I always advise my friends to practice by using hand grip strengtheners. These will have to be used the opposite way of how they usually are. Instead of slowly squeezing them in, you want to squeeze them in and slowly let them out. Do this every day until your launching on your bike becomes stable.



Brakes:
Brakes are a simple thing… you have one in the front and one in the back.. wanna stop? Step and squeeze as hard as u can. Right? WRONG!
There is so much more to brakes than just stopping. Applied in the right time, brakes can make you go faster. Even when I raced cars I always said “sometimes, if you wanna go faster, you need to slow down”.

Too much braking:
1.       Is there such a thing? YES! You brake for everything! i.e. you see a car at a junction MILES away from you, when you are about to turn (usually because you are afraid of the turn), when you think you are going too fast… etc
Causes of too much braking can be due to:
1.       Fear
2.       Not used to your brakes
3.       Brake checking
4.       Going too fast (so you think)

How much is too much?
The next time you are on your bike, brake at a traffic light and look at what you are doing:

How many fingers are on your brake lever? You should have maximum 2 (for disk brakes). 1 finger if you are just slowing down, 2 if you are stopping.

Are you stomping on your rear brakes? If yes, ease up. There are times to step harder on the rear and times to pull harder on the front. If your clutch is on, stomping on the rear brakes is as useful as going to a McDonalds looking for healthy food… its there… but not really(that’s me trying not to give dirty metaphors).

70/30 braking:
Some say 70/30, I have heard 60/40, 90/10, 100/0,30/70, 20/80, 10/80 + 10% hopes and dreams…
All these numbers does not matter when you are really out there… there are no real numbers in real life and even if they are really there, they ae just guidelines and all depend on the situation.

Leaving engine braking out (in case you ride a scooter & it’s complicated to say when to do it), here are some guidelines I like to use:
1.       Front heavy
2.       Rear heavy
3.       Equal
4.       Rear + power
5.       Front + power

Examples:
Front Heavy:
Front heavy means braking with more pressure put on the front than the back. This usually applies for dry roads and riding straight or will a higher banking angle when turning (not too much lean).

Rear Heavy:
This means the opposite. More pressure on the rear (with or without clutch pulled). This is useful for rain/damp roads, sandy roads, corners with a lower banking angle (you are leaning more).

Equal:
Both front and brakes are applied with more or less equal amount of pressure. This is very commonly used for heavy rain situations. At this point, your front and rear brakes are practically screwed because of over lubrication and the lack of an optimum temperature for your brakes to function. Braking must be linear and firm.

Rear + Power:
This is when it’s not about slowing down, it is about optimizing your brakes to do your bidding:
1.       This is good for beginners and sharp narrow turns. Pressure to the rear brakes limits the power to the rear wheels
2.       It is also useful when you are sifting through traffic or are in a slow traffic situation. As the power is applied together with the brakes, your bike will want to stand up.

Front + Power:
This is more for the advanced biker, usually used for late braking before entering turns. This stabilizes the bike when going slow as well but is very risky with a high chance of locking up  the front brakes.





Tank Squishing:
I honestly don’t know what it’s called. But I call it tank squishing. This applies for both cruisers and sports bikes. It is the act of squeezing your tank with your thighs.

Why:
What this does is it uses your lower body to anchor down to the bike thus giving your hands the freedom to be loose and thus better control your bike. On highways however, I recommend the old switcheroo… just alternate so you don’t get tired too fast.



Turning:
At 0 to 25++kmh, the bike will turn left when you turn left and right when you turn right.
At 30++ the bike will turn left when your handles turn right. This is called counter steering.

When people tell you that the bike will turn left if you lean left, they are morons. If your triple tree is locked to a point where it cannot freely move, go for a ride let go of the handlebars and try leaning. Call the ambulance before you do this though.
If one says it works, that would be because the handles are set to move freely and the bike being designed the way it was, it will try to counter steer itself thus some feel that the bike turns when you counter steer.

I tend to like to teach my friends the “chin pointing” method of turning:
This is where you point your chin to the direction you wish to go. The sharper the turn, the more you will need to lean. Lean at a 45 degree angle towards your handlebar (i.e. if you want to turn left, lean towards your left grips).

The science of this is that when you lean your chin towards the handle bar, your hand will be creating a forward pushing motion on the handles thus causing it to counter steer. It also shifts the body weight to the side of the motorcycle you wish to turn in to.



Weight Shifting:
When cornering, it helps if you actually lean into the side where you wish to turn. A lot of people look at MOTOGP and think you have to dangle off the bike. That’s crap! You don’t have to hang like and ape off the bike, just a little help to move the bike to the side and that’s all you need. I always advise all my friends to turn your knee out 90 degrees (regardless what bike you are riding) as that will shift your weight onto the pegs you wish to turn to. As the bike is banking, your other leg should still be tight on the tank to hold your body from sliding.



Eyes On The Road:
The general rule of riding: always keep your eyes on the road. The problem with most people is that when they look at something, they have to focus on it. i.e. if you look down the road, you will focus on a tree or a car. Once you do that, your bike will follow the bike or car or tree instead of the road. If you are in your office, stand up and look straight. You will be forced to focus on maybe someone’s cube or chair or someone's ass (which is usually the case you pervs!). What you need to do is see EVERYTHING. The human eye can comprehend a lot of things and perceive a lot more than what we can process consciously. The thing is that SUBCONCIOUSLY, we can process even more. These are the things that your mind sees, feels is unimportant and dismisses them. A good example: when riding or driving to work, do you remember all the cars you passed? I’m sure you don’t, but I’m sure you would have done some minute adjustments to avoid them and things.

Practice:
You can do this anywhere! Stand up at your office, look far down, do not focus on anything, start walking and keep your eyes looking far and try to avoid stuff BUT DON’T FOCUS ON IT!

Then when you are good at it, get on your bike, scatter tennis ball halves everywhere and avoid them with your bike while looking far.

This will train your mind to pick up and take the appropriate action without storing it in your memory.. Because for your body, it takes more effort to remember than to just deal and forget.



Launching:
This is an addition to clutch control. New bikers find the clutch and throttle a problem. They are afraid of the clutch because they may end up poping a wheelie. My advice for new bikers:
-          Rev at 3k+++ (don’t go over 5k)
-          Slowly release the clutch while maintaining the revs
-          Upon bite point, keep releasing and compensate the revs accordingly.



Adjustments:
Contrary to popular belief, the clutch and throttle are not properly adjusted out of the factory. There are no “one size fits all” adjustments for bikes.

Clutch: adjust the clutch so that bite point is to your preference. The only “wrong” setting for this is if the bite point is set all the way up and there is no free play on the clutch. We don’t like this because when this is done, you may not be releasing the clutch 100% and may cause damage to your plates.


Throttle: too much free play on the throttle can cause issues like a blippy inconsistent rev and if you want to be an anal “racer” you lose milliseconds in your shift. Adjust your throttle for 1-3mm of free play. Turn your handle all the way left and test the free play, if there is some then good. Turn the other side and check again. If you turn and it is tight, loosen it up a little.




These few points I have mentioned is all I can think of right now, please do comment on other things you wish to know about your bike or things I may not have covered that is also not in the videos, please feel free to drop a comment and I will be sure to answer you.

By Vy